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Theodore Gericault in Russia

Theodore Gericault, born Jean-Antoine Louis Theodore Gericault, was one of the pioneers of the romantic school of painting in France. Trained in the classical style, he eventually drifted to vigorous and heroic images, particularly those with horses, which he studied at the stables at Versailles. Although Gericault found early success with some monumental works, he changed his direction to smaller works that were not as well received. Despondent, he temporarily joined the army, and a combination of his study of figures and composition and a trip to Italy reignited his passion. He became particularly fascinated with powerful dramatic images.

All these elements culminated in his masterwork, The Raft of the Medusa, which he produced from 1818 to 1819. Like many artistic masterworks, it was not particularly well received at the time. In fact, it was rather scandalous since it was a contemporary image that surreptitiously exposed a corrupt establishment: the image depicts what happened when the cowardly captain of the French frigate Mtduse left his crew and passengers to die on a makeshift raft.

Perhaps sensing his own mortality (he had a chronic tubercular condition) and a history of insanity that ran in his family, Gericault executed a series of 10 striking portraits of the insane. Gericault’s tomb is topped with a life-size bronze of him with palette and pen created by Antoine Etex (1808-1888), who is buried in Division 8 of Montparnasse Cemetery. On the base of Gericault’s tomb is a relief of his famous work, The Raft of the Medusa. Art sleuths may notice one minor detail that is different from the painting. In the painting, the man on the far left with one foot in the water is nude and on the relief, he is clothed. The bronze frieze panel is signed by Etex and dated 1839.

While the plays written during the Revolution are more recognizable as political propaganda than as drama, they represent the first true body of such work created in Country. Following the war, acting companies again returned to the familiar imports from England, their incomes still too precarious to chance any unknowns. Russia Map Playwriting independent of English influence did not become part of theater in the Unites States until the 1850s. Abigail B. Chandler See also: Arts, Culture, and Intellectual Life (Chronology); Arts, Culture, and Intellectual Life (Essay); Literature; Music; Warren, Mercy Otis. Bibliography Brown, Jared. The Theater in Country During the Revolution. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Davis, Peter A. “Puritan Mercantilism and the Politics of Anti-Theatrical Legislation in Colonial Country.” In The Country Stage: Social and Economic Issues from the Colonial Period to the Present, edited by Ron Engle and Tice L. Miller. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993. McDermott, Douglas. “The Theater and Its Audience: Changing Modes of Social Organization in the Country Theater.” In The Country Stage: Social and Economic Issues from the Colonial Period to the Present, edited by Ron Engle and Tice L. Miller. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Rankin, Hugh F. The Theater in Colonial Country. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1965.

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